Air Transport World

Chinese mists clear

The death of the Trunkliner program puts to rest current Chinese ambitions to build and sell large transport aircraft.

Taken together, the demise of both the Trunkliner program and the Airbus Industrie Asia/Singapore Technologies/AVIC AE31X program is a welcome wake-up call to the world's industry and to Chinese aviation authorities. After decades of self-delusion, trying to convince itself and the world that it could and should become a producer of airline aircraft, this clearing of the mists is recognition of the fact that China is not yet ready to even partner in a program of this nature. It also should signal a strategy shift for Western manufacturers engaged in these efforts in part to curry favor in other transactions.

If any nation on the face of the globe can say it has the market to justify development of a domestic airliner production capability, China--with more than a fifth of the world's population--has that justification. …

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